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A three-member student team from Eastern Kentucky University is the winner of the national 2018 Community Bank Case Study Competition, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) in Washington, D.C., announced. 

The national championship student team members, all seniors, are Lorelei Nguyen, accounting, computer information systems and finance major from Lexington, Kentucky; Aaron Schmidgall, managerial finance major from Somerset, Kentucky; and Dalton Stanley, managerial finance and global supply chain management major from Pikeville, Kentucky. Maggie Abney served as faculty adviser and Central Bank & Trust Co. as the team’s community bank partner.

“The students gave us keen insights into their perceptions of what banks should be doing to serve their needs more effectively,” said Luther Deaton, president and CEO of Central Bank in Lexington. “We were very impressed by their knowledge.”

While this is the fourth year of the competition, it is the first year that EKU fielded a team.

“We were impressed by the work of the five finalists, and the Eastern Kentucky University team’s case study was outstanding,” said CSBS Senior Executive Vice President Michael Stevens. “Their quality of work and the information they yielded exemplifies why we have the competition.”

As first-place winner, the EKU team will receive a $1,000 scholarship per student, be invited to present at the CSBS-Federal Reserve Community Banking in the 21st Century Research and Policy Conference in St. Louis in October, and be published in the CSBS Journal of Community Bank Case Studies.

The team advanced through three rounds of judging by banking professionals and overcame a pool of 51 competitors in the competition, which is open to undergraduate students in all fields of study as an opportunity to gain valuable first-hand knowledge of the banking industry. This year’s case studies looked at how community banks are using technology to streamline processes and better serve their customers.

“It was a phenomenal learning experience,” said Abney, who also serves as EKU’s Executive in Residence for Banking. “The more they studied, the more interested and driven they became. It was an enlightening and gratifying project for the students.”

Charles Vice, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions, has been following the students' progress closely.

“The Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) congratulates the EKU students for their hard work in preparing a case study for the sixth annual Community Bank Conference,” Vice said. “The students studied how offering financial services through technology platforms presents both challenges and opportunities for community banks. I want to thank the EKU team members for their excellent work that has been recognized on a national level."

For more information on the 2018 Community Bank Case Study Competition, visit

For more information about the banking and financial services minor at EKU, visit The finance major (BBA) at EKU features two concentrations: managerial finance and financial planning. Minors are offered in banking and financial services and personal finance. A certificate in financial literacy is also available.